Please welcome Darynda Jones to the blog! Darynda is the author of the Charley Davidson urban fantasy series (and more!) and the 4th book, Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet will be out on the 30th. Darynda was kind enough to answer a few of my questions, and there’s also an excerpt of Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, so be sure to check it out, and hey, there’s a giveaway too (right under the excerpt)!
Darynda, your story is a very interesting (and busy!!) one, and it’s led to five books in two years (with your YA release, Death and the Girl Next Door), four in the Charley Davidson series! Will you tell us a bit about Charley?
Absolutely! Charley Davidson series a female PI who was born the grim reaper. Since the age of five, she’s been helping the departed solve the mysteries of their deaths so they can cross. Now she does the same for the living as well. In the meantime, she has to deal with a being more powerful, and definitely sexier, than any specter she’s ever encountered. He haunts her every move and Charley discovers that dodging bullets isn’t nearly as dangerous as falling in love.
Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet will be out in just a few days! When you started writing the series, did you already have an idea of how many books you wanted to write?
All I knew is that I wanted it to continue, and my editor wants the same thing! (I’m so lucky, it’s unreal.) So the series is open-ended, just as I’d envisioned.
What do you love most about writing urban fantasy/paranormal romance?
The freedom. I love how a writer can mold her characters into absolutely anything. The only rules are those the writer creates for her world. Oh, I also love superpowers. 🙂
Have you ever thought about who you’d cast if your books were to become movies? If so, who could you see cast as Charley and the gang?
There are so many actresses I could see playing Charley, oddly enough, like Jessica Alba or Olivia Wilde. But Reyes is much harder. I originally based him on Jason Behr. He has become darker and rougher than my original image, but I still think Jason could play him. He is an actor with a wide range of acting abilities. I could definitely see Melissa McCarthy as Cookie and Jim Beaver as Uncle Bob. Oh! And Shemar Moore or Columbus Short as Garrett Swopes.
What are some of your favorite authors? Any major influences?
I read in just about every genre there is, but I do read a lot of paranormal. I love me some WARDen (JR Ward), probably most of all. I love Jeaniene Frost, Jackquelyn Frank, Kresley Cole, Kerrelyn Sparks, Julia Quinn, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Jane Austen . . . so so many. I could go on for days. My major influences were Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Stephen King, Johanna Lindsey, Edgar Allen Poe, Anne Rice, and many more.
What are you reading now?
Right now I’m reading Storm Front by Jim Butcher, Kiss of Steel by Bec McMasters, and Killing Floor by Lee Child. I’ve actually started two of these on audiobooks. I LOVE audiobooks. James Marsters (Spike from Buffy) is reading Storm Front. I love his voice!!!
If you could read one book again for the very first time, which one would it be?
Lover Awakened by JR Ward. I love Zsadist. Sigh….
When you manage to find some free time, how do you like to spend it?
I read or watch TV. I love to go back and do marathons of my favorite TV shows. I study the character and story arcs, how the writers ratchet up the tension, how they make me cry. Even when I’m not writing, I’m working. LOL
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us about upcoming projects or events?
Well, Fourth Grave Beneath my Feet comes out October 30th, and Death, Doom and Detention (the 2nd in the YA series, Darklight) comes out March 5th, 2013. Right now I’m working on Fifth Grave Past the Light which will drop July 9th, 2013. I’m loving this story!
Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet EXCERPT
With renewed energy, I pulled back onto Academy— after hitting a
drive- through for a mocha latte— and had just started for home when
my phone rang.
“Yes?” I said, illegally talking on the phone while driving within the
city limits. Scoping for cops, I waited for Uncle Bob to stop talking to
whomever he was talking to and get back to me.
My uncle Bob, or Ubie as I most often referred to him, was a detective
for APD, and I helped him on cases from time to time. He knew I
could see the departed and used that to his advantage. Not that I could
“Get that to her, then call the ME ay- sap.”
“Okay,” I said, “but I’m not sure what calling the medical examiner
ay- sap is going to accomplish. I’m pretty sure his name is George.”
“Oh, hey, Charley.”
“Hey, Uncle Bob. What’s up?”
“Are you driving?”
“Have you heard anything?”
Our conversations often went like this. Uncle Bob with his random
questions. Me with my trying to come up with answers just as random.
Not that I had to try very hard. “I heard that Tiff any Gorham, a girl I
knew in grade school, still stuff s her bra. But that’s just a rumor.”
“About the case,” he said through clenched teeth. I could tell his teeth
were clenched because his words were suddenly forced. That meant he
was frustrated. Too bad I had no idea what he was talking about.
“I wasn’t aware that we had a case.”
“Oh, didn’t Cookie call you?”
“She called me a doody- head once.”
“About the case.” His teeth were totally clenched again.
“We have a case?”
But I’d lost him. He was talking to another officer. Or a detective. Or
a hooker, depending on his location and accessibility to cash. Though I
doubted he would tell a hooker to check the status of the DOA’s autopsy
report. Unless he was way kinkier than I’d ever given him credit for.
I found his calling me only to talk to other people very challenging.
“I’ll call you right back,” he said. No idea to whom.
The call disconnected as I sat at a light, wondering what guacamole
would look like if avocados were orange.
I finally shifted my attention to the dead kid in my backseat. He had
shoulder- length blond hair and bright blue eyes and looked somewhere
between fifteen and seventeen.
“You come here often?” I asked him, but my phone rang before he
could say anything. That was okay. He had a vacant stare, so I doubted
he would have answered me anyway.
“Sorry about that,” Uncle Bob said. “Do you want to discuss the
“We have a case?” I said again, perking up.
“How are you?”
He asked me that every time he called now. “Peachy. Am I the case? If
so, I can solve this puppy in about three seconds. I’m heading down San
Mateo toward Central in a cherry red Jeep Wrangler with a questionable
“Hurry, before I get away!”
About Darynda Jones:
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a RITA®, and a Daphne du Maurier. As a born storyteller, she grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike. Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.